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Celebration: New CD by the Persian Avant-Garde composer Alireza Mashayekhi

By Pejman Akbarzadeh (Source: CHN)

Alireza Mashayekhi is one of the most important representatives of new music in Persia (Iran). In 1993 with cooperation of the pianist Farima Ghavam-Sadri, Mashayekhi founded Tehran Contemporary Music Group and in 1995 established Iranian Orchestra for New Music. This orchestra alongside many concerts in Tehran, produced its first CD in 2002 which was released by Hermes Records. Recently, on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the foundation, the 2nd CD of the Iranian Orchestra for New Music named "Celebration" was released in Tehran.

The CD can be ordered at Hermes Records

"Celebration" includes five pieces:

"Celebration" (For Piano and Percussion) Op. 133 (1998)
"Celebration" may be regarded as one of the most successful examples of Meta-X music, which Mashayekhi defines as music based on thoughts derived from various cultural sources. In this piece, "theme-based non-tonal," "non-theme-based non-tonal," "Persian folk music" and "Persian traditional music" appear side by side or at times in contrast to each other. "Celebration" for piano and percussion is presented once with Persian percussions and once with Western percussions.
In "Celebration", there are situations in which the improvisation by the players will allow the audience to note differences within each performance. "Celebration" is dedicated to Farima Ghavamsadri. She has performed this piece on numerous occasions with the Iranian Orchestra for New Music.

Meta X No. 1 (For Violoncello and Orchestra)  Op. 152 (2001)
Meta X No. 1 has been written in four different versions. The version in this album is for cello and orchestra. This is a multicultural piece using different techniques and sources in coordination to achieve a unity of expression. The final result is far from a collage. This composition  was premiered in May 2004 by Marie-Thérese Grisenti and the Chamber Orchestra of Ecole Nationale de Musique de Cachan, France, conducted by Gilles Carré.  Meta X No.1 is dedicated to Marie-Thérese Grisenti. Sanam Gharachedaghi is the soloist in this album.

Sonata II  (For Piano and Orchestra) Op. 138 (1999)
The sonata, as a musical form, has been an inspiration for many of Mashayekhi's compositions. He has composed solo sonatas as well as sonatas for solo instruments and orchestra. In addition, many of his symphonic movements have used sonatas as their basic form. However, it must be kept in mind that his approach to the sonata form is personal and quite distinct from the classical form. Mashayekhi usually uses different "atmospheres" in exposition as replacement for themes and adds new "atmospheres" as additional material for the purpose of development.
Sonata II for piano and orchestra is dedicated to the late
Emmanuel Melik- Aslanian and premiered in January 2000 by Gagik Babayan and The Iranian Orchestra for New Music, conducted by Alireza Mashayekhi.

Sokoot IV  (For Orchestra) Op. 154 (2002)
 "Silence" is a major focus of attention in Mashayekhi's music and it has been approached by him from many different angles. Thus he devoted a series of compositions to the dialectic of sound and silence. He uses the Persian word for silence (sokoot) for the compositions of this series. In Sokoot IV, the silence is constructed in such a way that the climax of silence, a pause of 55 seconds, takes place approximately in the middle of the piece. Here, the instrumentalists recite lines from poetry by the 13th century Persian poet Hafez (Hafiz), .

Sonata 82  (For Piano and Orchestra) Op. 128 No. 3 (2003)
In honor of the 10th anniversary of the founding of the Orchestra for New Music, Mashayekhi made a new version of his Sonata for Violin, Piano and Orchestra.  As in many of his other sonatas, Mashayekhi takes a very personal approach to the classical sonata form. In the exposition "atmospheres" replace themes. Atonality in this composition is extracted from both thematic and athematic relations.

Alireza Mashayekhi was born in 1940 in Tehran. He studied with Lotfollah Mofakham Payan (violin and Persian music), Hossein Nasehi (composition) and Ophelia Kombajian (piano). Hanns Jelinek and Karl Schiske were his composition professors at the Vienna Music Academy. Hanns Jelinek encouraged him to explore a wide spectrum of 20th century music. This and his fondness for Persian culture were the cornerstones of his artistic development. After completing his studies at the Academy, he went to Utrecht, The Netherlands, to pursue his study of electronic and computer music, which included attending lectures by Gottfried Michael König.

Mashayekhi's compositions have tended towards three major directions: pieces that are directly inspired by Persian (Iranian) music (e.g. 'Symphony No. 5', 'Persian Suite', and 'Shahrzad') and compositions that are not directly related to Persian music ( e.g. 'Symphony No. 6', 'Concerto for Violin and Orchestra',  'Sonata for Piano') and multicultural compositions (e.g. 'Symphony No. 8' and the electronic composition 'East - West').

About the author:
Pejman Akbarzadeh is a 26-year old pianist and writer in Tehran. He is a member of "Artists Without Frontiers"   ( 
) and representative of "Persian Gulf Online Organization" ( in Persia (Iran). His book about 20th century Persian (Iranian) Musicians  was cited as "an honor to Persian musicological circles" in the Maryland-based "Iranian Musicology Quarterly".

... Payvand News - 6/27/06 ... --

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